Special Issue on Immunotherapy for Chronic Hepatitis B Virus Infection

Submission Deadline: Mar. 20, 2020

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Special Issue Flyer (PDF)
  • Lead Guest Editor
    • Department of Gastroenterology, Zhangzhou Municipal Hospital of Fujian Medical University, Zhangzhou, China
  • Guest Editor
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    • Jin S Im
      Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy,University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
    • Qi Zheng
      Center for Liver Disease, the First Affiliated Hospital of Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, Fujian, China
    • Tiejun Tong
      Department of Mathematics, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China
    • Yadong Lai
      Department of Gastroenterology, Zhangzhou Municipal Hospital of Fujian Medical University, Zhangzhou, Fujian, China
    • Department of Internal Medicine, Zhangzhou Municipal Hospital of Fujian Medical University, Zhangzhou, Fujian, China
    • Ruidan Zheng
      Department of Hepatology, Zhangzhou Zhengxing Hospital, Zhangzhou, Fujian, China
  • Introduction

    Currently available therapeutic drugs for chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection include interferon-α (INF-α) and or nucleos(t)ide analogs. However, INF-α treatment is limited by its relatively low response (30-40%) rate and deleterious effects, while nucleos(t)ide analogue treatment is limited by the need for long-term therapy and the development of mutant drug resistance. Thus application of immunotherapy to treatment of chronic HBV infection has gained popularity due to a better understanding of how to activate antiviral immune response.
    Therapeutic vaccines provide a useful method for triggering immune responses. In a model of HBV transgenic mice, hepatitis B therapeutic vaccines have been reported to elicit HBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses and control HBV replication. In clinical trial, HBV core antigen peptide 18-27 (HBc18-27) has been shown to induce significant HBV-specific CTL response in healthy subjects. Alternatively, several clinical trials have demonstrated that adoptive transfer of HBV-immune memory T cells from an immune donor through bone marrow transplantation (BMT) or transfer of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) can induce serological clearance of the HBsAg and lead to seroconversion in patients with CHB. However, allogeneic BMT treatment is restricted to BMT setting and limited by its potential serious complications. In this respect, administration of autologous, multi-factors activated, HBV-specific CTL is thought to be another practical therapeutic option for CHB patients. These cells may be harvested from patients’ peripheral blood, expanded in vitro and reinfused to eradicate HBV in vivo. In clinical trials, adoptive transfer of these cells was well-tolerated in CHB patients and showed strong anti-viral efficacy, even if antiviral drug resistance has developed. Improved CTL cell culture technology can further enhance the antiviral function of adoptively transferred T cells. Current strategies for augmenting the function of cultured T cells have focused on cytokines, co-stimulatory molecules and immune checkpoint that regulate proliferation, survival, activation and differentiation of T cells.
    However viruses have evolved numerous immunosuppressive mechanisms to escape the immune attack. In patients with chronic HBV infections, functions of both DCs and CTLs are inhibited by high HBV load, leading to the limited efficacy of therapeutic vaccines. Therefore, as a corollary, the strategy of therapeutic viral vaccination of CHB patients is likely to succeed mainly in the setting of low HBV load. On the contrary, although adoptive transfer of in-vitro expanded CTL may be superior to therapeutic vaccination as a single therapeutic modality against HBV and may directly contribute to the reduction of HBV load, most of the CTL responses may be transient and the patients may have limited persistence of these transferred cells. Moreover, the tolerizing microenvironment of liver further impair the effectiveness of immunotherapy. Hence, better understanding of the mechanisms of HBV immunotolerance will improve the success of future therapies. In addition, it will be interesting to investigate if combination of therapeutic vaccines and adoptive T cell transfer can be used to achieve off-treatment sustained suppression of HBV replication and remission of liver disease. Furthermore, selection of suitable candidates for immunotherapy and identification of biomarker of response seems to be paramount.

    Aims and Scope:

    1. HBV immune escape mechanisms
    2. Liver tolerizing microenvironment
    3. HBV therapeutic vaccine
    4. Adoptive transfer of HBV-specific T cells
    5. Biomarker of response to immunotherapy
    6. Selection of suitable candidates for immunotherapy

  • Guidelines for Submission

    Manuscripts can be submitted until the expiry of the deadline. Submissions must be previously unpublished and may not be under consideration elsewhere.

    Papers should be formatted according to the guidelines for authors (see: http://www.clinexpmed.org/submission). By submitting your manuscripts to the special issue, you are acknowledging that you accept the rules established for publication of manuscripts, including agreement to pay the Article Processing Charges for the manuscripts. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically through the online manuscript submission system at http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/login. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal and will be listed together on the special issue website.